Of all the places you could be –
By the cold, stony river with its burnt-out banks,
Or a lonely hillside cursed by purple Paterson –
You’re here, on my verandah, alone.
Your hundred cousins chewing bark
Down by the dam.
It was just you and me.
I thought you carried a red fruit
Till I saw it was your beak,
Half torn-off, your grey tongue hanging loose,
Your white chest feathers rusty with blood.
I gave you seed in a bowl,
You tried to scoop it sideways with your broken jaw,
Swallow it whole.
I watched you, watched over you, watched for you.
On the third day you weren’t there.
Down on the cool green grass of the golf course you sat, waiting for sunset,
Your hundred cousins already roosting
In the myrtle tree.